Motivation

Fallen off the Wagon? Don’t Give Up!

Hello, world!

Life is full steam ahead! I’ve been doing PIIT28 round 2, and I can tell my stamina and strength are improving! I don’t always make it through all 4 rounds (mainly because I’m hungry and want to make dinner, lol) but I can tell some moves are getting easier to do. I’m on day 36 and I did something crazy this morning- I woke up early and went for a run. What?? Who am I? I just felt this urge to start the morning with a run so why not? And thankfully I don’t feel too tired to do my PIIT workout later, so I might start running in the morning on a daily basis.

Again, I stress the “who am I”? I’ve never been a morning person, and I’ve never enjoyed running (when you live in a hot humid place like I do, you wouldn’t like it either!), but I can tell that after over a month of incorporating excercise to my routine, it’s become a craving. I want to be active, I want to push my stamina. I’m telling you, it wasn’t easy getting to this point and it probably won’t be easygoing from here.

I hear it all the time- “I got to day 3 and then life got in the way and I haven’t worked out in like 4 days and I’m so disappointed that I’ll have to start over! How do I get the motivation to do this again?” Well wait, hold up right there. Who said you had to start over? We’re our own worst enemy, and here’s the perfect example of that. I’ll be open and honest- I didn’t complete PIIT28 round 1 in 28 days, and I definitely won’t complete round 2 in 28 days, but does that counteract all the hard work and progress I made? Absolutely Β not! Does getting my favorite dessert a couple times completely destroy the 28 Day Reset? No!

We’re human. We make mistakes. We have cravings, we get sick, unexpected events happen, and therefore we have to change our plans. We’re not robots. No one expects you to be the perfect parent, friend, sibling, fitness nut. Being perfect isn’t possible, and when you keep expecting that of yourself, you end up going crazy. I see it all the time in tv, movies, and my own life. I do have very high expectations of myself, and sometimes I mess up or don’t meet that expectation. It can take a lot to turn your thinking around from beating yourself up to just moving forward.

Keep moving forward.

(That’s what my next tattoo will be- keep moving forward)

The truth is, when we expect perfection from ourselves, we hold ourselves back. We really are our own worst enemy. No one else is yelling at you except yourself in most cases, and ask yourself, does anything productive come from that? 99% of the time the answer is no. So why not try something else- let’s be our own cheerleader. Let’s recognize that on Sunday I had a chicken parm sub for lunch, but today I’m having a turkey, hummus, and spinach pita for lunch. Let’s recognize that I took 2 rest days, but then kicked butt with a double workout. I kept going, and that shows more strength in my opinion.

Go Rachel go!

Let’s celebrate the little things. What did you do recently that made you proud? Did you wake up a little earlier than usual? Did you try something new? Did you start working out again after a hiatus? Let’s celebrate eachother!

Peace and love!

Wellness

Guess who’s back?

Hello World!

It’s 2017, and guess who’s back? Me! I know I’ve been a little MIA due to life, but now I’m in a place where I can actually focus balancing work and a healthy lifestyle again (hooray!). Since we last spoke, I have graduated college and work full time in the “adult world”.

The adult world has some caveats though. I never realized how tiring it is to work a regular 9-5 job. One would think that since I don’t have kids (unless you count my fur-child, Munchie) that I would have all of this energy and time to do things, right? Nope. Maybe it’s part of getting older and being in a routine, but I’m exhausted. Because of that, my health did start to go down hill- not working out as much, eating as many chicken fingers as I want, etc etc. As you can probably imagine, those things don’t necessarily help.

Finally, I decided to make a change. My favorite girl who invented POP Pilates, Cassey Ho, came out with something called PIIT28, which is the pilates version of HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training)! I’ve been a follower of her usual calendars, so when I saw PIIT, I was hooked. It’s about 28 minutes of super high energy pilates- you sweat, you burn, you get sore! Along with those lovely things, you feel STRONG. I’ve been doing it for 18 days, and I can already see my abs getting distinct again. Woo hoo!

In addition to PIIT28, I started the 28 Day Reset today! It’s a meal plan that goes hand-in-hand with PIIT28. You completely omit dairy (easy for me since I’m allergic, lol), gluten, sugar, and processed grains for 28 days, then slowly re-introduce these things while keeping up healthy eating. It’s genius! She gives you a weekly calendar of meals and a grocery list, so you literally just print it and go. I also appreciate that the recipes aren’t too complicated in nature, which makes prepping meals in advance easier. Seriously, if you’re looking for a way to kickstart your body for Summer, this is where it’s at.

If you aren’t already, I definitely recommend following me on Instagram @Happy_Body_Blog! You’ll see my progress through PIIT28 and the 28 Day Reset. Also, if you want to see what these programs are all about, follow the affiliate links below!

PIIT 28 + 28 Day Reset Power Pack

PIIT 28

28 Day Reset

Now in terms of my site, I am super excited to bring about some changes! I’m creating new designs and logos, along with posting twice a week along the same lines of what I’ve always done: fitness, nutrition, mindfulness, and beauty! Are you ready? I am!

Peace and love!

Health Challenge

Spring to Summer Fitness Challenge!

Hello, world!

With Spring Break and Summer and other swimsuit-needs fast approaching, I came up with a brilliant idea! It’s this time of year that many wish to becoming “swimsuit ready”, and contemplate going to the gym, eating healthy, etc, but often don’t know where to start, or start out at an extreme and burn out really quickly. Even a lot of programs that are “for beginners” are still a little too challenging and daunting for some. This is where my idea for the Spring to Summer Fitness Challenge began!

In order to increase your likelihood for succeeding, whether it be a nutrition or fitness plan, you need to start small and work your way up. Making a whole bunch of changes all at one time can lead to burnout rather than long term change. It’s like learning a new language- you can’t just jump into Advanced French if you don’t even know how to say “hello”; you’ll get overwhelmed! You start at French 101. The same concept applies here!

With that, I’ve devised a 3 part plan that is aimed towards people who do not exercise regularly as the ultimate gateway into fitness and long term change! It is designed for those who may have a hard time getting started on a fitness routine, or are so incredibly busy that there is no time to even think about working out. So if you’re a hardcore fitness fanatic who runs 5 miles every morning just as a warmup, this may not be geared for you, however it can be a great addition to what you already do! This is also wonderful for those who used to work out all the time, but may have fallen off track for awhile (like me, I was sick off and on for a bit) and need to ease back into it.

Are you ready? I know you are! Here’s how the challenge will work:

  • Part 1: March 1-31, quick daily workout (approx. 15 minutes), and a weekly food challenge
  • Part 2: April 1-30, up the intensity/length of the workouts from part 1, plus the weekly food challenge!
  • Part 3: May 1-31, higher intensity/length from part 2, plus the weekly food challenge!

On the day before, I will post the workout calendar and weekly food challenge here to my website so you all can be ready for day 1 to start! So to make sure you don’t miss out, follow my blog so you’ll receive email updates!

With that, I challenge you to 1) follow my blog so you’ll be notified by email when I post those calendars 2) invite a friend to do the challenge with you 3) HAVE FUN! This will be your opening journey towards life long change!

Keep your eyes peeled on February 28 for the Part 1 Calendar!

Peace and love!

Health Challenge

No Dairy February Challenge!

Hello, world!

It’s a new month, and a new year thanks to the Chinese zodiac (year of the horse!), which means it’s the perfect time to make some changes! Guess what that means… it’s Health Challenge time! I’m pretty excited about this one- No Dairy February! You heard me right, no dairy.

What does dairy entail? Well that’s a fabulous question! Dairy means pretty much anything that is made from cow’s milk, including milk, butter, buttermilk, evaporated milk, skim milk, margarine, cream, cream cheese, cheese, sour cream, whey, lactose, casein, and so on. I think you get the picture- dairy is a big category, and perhaps bigger than you thought! For example, did you know McDonald’s french fries contain milk? Or even many taco seasoning packets? It’s absolutely crazy some of the things that contain milk!

Now if you’ve read my blog before, you know that I like to research and explain things! Why am I declaring February as anti-dairy month? Many reasons. Of course, there is a good and bad side to everything. Milk is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D, which are the building blocks of your bones and teeth. Think of vitamin D as an escort- it helps the calcium get absorbed so that it may strengthen your bones like bricks for a house. Milk also provides potassium, an electrolyte. However, milk is relatively high in calories (over 130 calories for 1 glass of 2% milk!), contains unhealthy fats, and is specifically formulated for cows. Think about it- have you ever seen a baby kangaroo get milk from a koala? Each animal makes its own unique milk to help it grow, so why do we drink a cow’s milk?

So why not partake in a health experiment? See what going dairy-free can do for you- you’ll drink less calories if you replace that milk in your cereal for light soy or almond milk, and consume fewer calories and fat if you say hold to the cheese and sour cream on your burrito. Cutting out dairy could give you more energy and make your body goals easier to attain! It’s not nearly as hard as you think- the major grocery stores and health markets (such as Publix and Whole Foods) all carry dairy alternatives! Here is a list of my favorites:

  • Soy/almond milk: Silk
  • Butter: Smartbalance Light or Organic
  • Cheese: Daiya
  • Sour Cream: Tofutti Sour Supreme
  • Cream Cheese: Tofutti
  • Icecream: So Delicious or Tofutti
  • Creamer: Silk
  • Chocolate: Enjoy Life
  • Frozen meals: Amy’s

Also, So Delicious has an AWESOME free online cookbook filled with dairy free recipes of your favorites! You can check it out here: http://www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com/files/2013_CookBook_Email.pdf

Since I am allergic to milk, clearly No Dairy February is a given for me, so I will partake in a separate challenge, which you all will try later! I will not eat processed foods! My favorite little guilty snack of tortilla chips will have to be replaced by fruits and vegetables, and my morning cereal will be replaced by steel cut oats! Like I said, you all will get to try this one later! πŸ˜‰

Are you going to make the pledge towards No Dairy February? Comment below any thoughts, successes, recipes, or ideas you may have!

Peace and love!

Nutrition

Favorite Foods That Boost Wellness

Hello World!

College football is finally here! Hooray for dressing up, going to tailgates, and cheering on my favorite team! Of course football season can lead to some pretty unhealthy eating habits, such as drinking lots of beer and eating more chips and burgers than you really should have! We can’t let a fantastic time of the year be an excuse to lose all of our good habits!

With that being said, lately I’ve been curious about the health benefits of individual ingredients. We all know staying away from the fried foods and eating more leafy greens is good for you, but what about other ingredients? What about spices and foods you may not usually think to use? With this thinking, I’ve come to realize that some of my favorite things hold great health benefits that you may not realize! I love the way foods work! πŸ™‚ Here are my favorite food items, their benefits, and how you can incorporate them in your diet!

Cinnamon: This spice packs more than just flavor! It helps regulate blood sugar and reduces your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels! Perfect for oatmeal, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and smoothies.

Cayenne: Spicy peppers contain capsaicin, which, despite its heat factor, can help reduce inflammation. Add this to your chicken, chili, or even your sauteed vegetables.

Turmeric: An Indian spice that can those suffering from arthritis, and has overall anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. This spice is absolutely delicious on chicken along with cumin!

Bananas: My favorite fruit! Bananas are fat and cholesterol free, and are high in potassium, B vitamins, manganese, and fiber! I could put a banana into almost any recipe- that’s just how much I love them!

Blueberries: These berries are incredibly high in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and are a wonderful low calorie snack! If you are looking for convenience, buy a giant bag of frozen blueberries. Fold them into a piping hot bowl of oatmeal, on top of some ice cream, or into a smoothie!

Oatmeal: As my favorite breakfast food in the world, oatmeal has high levels of fiber that reduce cholesterol levels, reduces appetite with the compound beta-glucan, and can reduce your risk of colon cancer thanks to its antioxidant levels (who knew?). I could eat oatmeal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Add any fruits, cinnamon, or even chocolate chips to make more of a dessert style oatmeal.

Sweet Potatoes: Along with their delicious taste, sweet potatoes are anti-inflammatory, low on the glycemic index (don’t spike your blood sugar), and are packed with vitamins A and C. Just by themselves, sweet potatoes are divine, but you can also use them in a black bean and sweet potato casserole!

Pumpkin Seeds: As the only seed that is alkaline-forming, pumpkin seeds are incredibly helpful if you have an acidic diet. They also have high levels of zinc to battle osteoporosis and illness, and vitamin E. Throw these seeds in your yogurt for some added crunch, or on top of your bread dough before you throw it in the oven. Pumpkin seeds are even fun to just snack on.

Coconut Oil: Not only is coconut oil a great moisturizer/deep conditioner, it also fights of candida and other fungi, and boosts your thyroid function. Try using it in place of olive or canola oil the next time you saute or grill!

Chia Seeds: If you are looking for a super food, chia seeds are the way to go. They are low calorie, high in fiber, protein, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, reduce appetite, and are a good source of calcium! They are very small and don’t have much taste- I add a tablespoon of chia seeds to my morning oatmeal to really jump start my day.

Garlic: Along with being very delicious, garlic is anti-inflammatory and reduces bad cholesterol levels! It’s perfect for flavoring meat, hummus, pastas, and breads!

Cranberries: These red berries contain anthocyanins, a phytochemical that acts as an antioxidant, reducing cell damage in the body. This explains why pure cranberry juice is used to treat urinary tract infections! Cranberries can be used in desserts, oatmeal, with turkey or chicken, or in juices and mixed beverages.

I personally was surprised by some of the things I found as I researched my favorite ingredients! I always love learning more about the foods I eat and how to improve. I dare you all to Google your favorite ingredient, even if it’s one I listed here already, just to see what kind of wonderful things it does for you. I would love to hear about what you find!

Of course, remember to follow me on Twitter @Happy_Body_Blog, and like the HappyBodyBlog Facebook page for more updates and health tips!

Peace and love!

Motivation

What’s Your Motivation?

Hello World!

I’m on day 2 of my June Nutrition Challenge (I was too eager to wait until June 1st!), and I am loving it! I didn’t think eating lots of veggies and lean protein would fill me up, but it did! I found myself scarfing down my meals and really enjoying them- when the body gets what it needs, it definitely lets you know! I had energy all day, my blood sugar didn’t drop, and I can already tell that my body looks leaner! It just goes to show how magical food really is! Check out my previous post on the June Nutrition Challenge and join me in making a change this month, even if it’s a smaller one- every step forward, no matter how big, is still a step forward!

With all of these changes in my life recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about what keeps me going. What is my motivation? Why do I want to be healthy so badly? What wakes me up at 8 AM to go running, even when I’m still tired? There is a two-fold answer to these questions, and I feel everyone else does too. There are two types of motivation: surface level, and deeper level. The surface level motivators are the changes we can feel and see, like wanting to lose weight, get an inner thigh gap, run 5 miles, etc. The surface level motivators are the goals we want to attain, and therefore we want to push forward to achieve them. Underneath all of that, we have deeper level motivators. They aren’t the goals we want to achieve necessarily, but the reason why we have goals. For example, my surface level motivators are to have an inner thigh gap and maintain a perfect waist (nice curves, flat stomach, no love handles). My deeper level motivator is my Grammy. She had too many health problems to count, including Alzheimer’s, and she ultimately passed away after having a stroke. The whole process of seeing her body wither away and slowly become more and more in pain was incredibly difficult for me. I felt like many of her woes would never have existed if she stayed active and continued to eat a healthy diet. Doctors and books and articles constantly recommend diet and exercise to avoid the many life-threatening diseases, and I 100% believe this. What we put in our bodies is what we get out of it. That is my deeper level motivator. I want to lead a healthy lifestyle, so that I may live a long, happy life with my future husband, children, grandchildren, friends, and family.

I know this post is more serious than my past ones, but motivation is such an important aspect of life. Knowing exactly what motivates you will help keep you on track when you want to give up and eat chicken fingers and fries, or skip a workout. And motivation doesn’t just pertain to health. Realizing what your motivation is for all aspects of life will make progress towards success and happiness even easier.

So what is your motivation? What are your surface and deeper level motivators? I would love to hear what they are. πŸ™‚

Peace and love!

Health Challenge

June Nutrition Challenge!

Hello world!

After a long long time of avoiding it, I am finally going to follow a clean eating plan! No more waffles, ice cream sandwiches, and sopapilla cheesecake (don’t look it up, because you’ll immediately want to make one, hehe!) for me! I’ve made quite a few changes already based on what the nutritionist told me (check out my earlier post about it here!), such as eliminating gluten, taking borage and krill oil supplements, and getting off of birth control. Did you know that birth control irritates and makes eczema incredibly worse? Of course I didn’t realize this until my entire torso, arms, face, scalp, and legs were afflicted! But that’s a rant for a whole different blog post. ^^

So what is this June Nutrition Challenge? Well, the nutritionist gave me some specific guidelines for an elimination diet to help my eczema, but I’m the type of person that needs to plan it out in order to successfully accomplish things. The great part is that my favorite Pilates girl, Cassey from Blogilates, created a 90 day health plan that happens to follow the elimination diet (you can find her plan here)! Since I’m going to Japan at the end of June, I’ll be doing this for 30 days rather than 90, but I’ll still reap the benefits. The body reacts quickly when you give it the right blend of nutrients! I’ve made a couple changes to the Blogilates health plan to match it to my allergies (for example, she calls for egg whites and cottage cheese, and I’m allergic to dairy!). Here is my June health plan:

Healthy Eating Plan

I’m actually pretty excited! I’ll be eating frequently everyday to keep my metabolism going (it’s better to eat more smaller meals than 3 large ones!), and I’ve already been weening myself off of sugars so this transition shouldn’t be as difficult (hopefully). I have all of the groceries I need for the first week, so I have no excuse not to stay on track! If you’re not so great at sticking to a plan, buying everything you in need in advance will definitely help.

I’m ready to take the next step towards healthy living! Are you? I challenge my readers to take the plunge and start a healthy eating plan, whether it’s just cutting out fast food or desserts, going gluten-free, or even going vegan for the month of June! These may be small steps, especially compared to the crazy clean eating plan above, but we must take these small steps and work up towards the healthy body we want! I’ve already taken the smaller steps of cutting out gluten and reducing my sugar intake so that it makes this diet change not as intimidating! We all know that going cold turkey and making multiple huge changes often leads to failure. Health is patience, so if we must take baby steps, it’s ok! As long as you’re moving forward πŸ™‚

So my June Nutrition Challenge for you is to take that first step! Let me know what your nutrition change will be, and let’s support each other in our goals!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Happy_Body_Blog, like my Facebook page, and sign up for email updates at the bottom of this page!

Peace and love!